A Reprise of Some of My Reasons For Writing the Book

My
book Penelope Parker: Witch in
Training
 started rumbling
around in my head a little over ten years ago. I played with it, wrote a couple
of chapters, and made notes. Then Life intruded, and it sat collecting dust
until last year, when I decided I wasn’t getting any younger, and the book was
not going to write itself. (It did, but that’s another story.)
Penelope
herself is based loosely on me as a child. I was gangly, a square peg in a
round hole, and was mercilessly bullied. I also saw things others didn’t, and
I’m sure my mother worried about me!
Gillian
Barrington-Smythe, the antagonist, is also based on a girl I knew at school.
She came from a rich family, and was spoiled and used to getting her own way.
The
other characters just emerged fully formed from the recesses of my brain, and
I’m not sure where they came from!
The name of the school Penelope was expelled from is also the school I went to in England, as
is the name of the headmistress. Unfortunately, the school no longer exists; there is a
council estate there now.
I
love the Harry Potter series, but I always felt that a few more strong female
characters would have been good, so I set out to do just that. There aren’t too
many books in the fantasy genre that have a female as the main character, so
Penelope was born, partly from me, partly from fantasy.

All
the main characters are female, and the only males in the book are the fathers,
Gwyddion and Marcus, Hecate’s brother, Paddy, and Jacob. I think that will
continue, at least for the next book, and we’ll see what happens after that.
I’m already working on the second book and hope to have the first draft
finished by April if all goes well.
ADDENDUM: April is looking rather ambitious at this point! There is so much else happening right now, that the first draft probably won’t be ready till Summer. The second book is titled “Chaos and Light”, and continues Penelope’s adventures.

About Susan McCaskill

Susan (or Sue, as she prefers to be called), was born in post war England, and lived there until the age of nine, when she and her mother emigrated to Canada. Her father died when she was nine, and left a huge impression on her. Both her parents encouraged her to read, and learn. She has always believed in fairies and elves, and probably always will, and as a child, she saw things many others didn't, and as a result she was thought to be a little strange.

Sue currently lives on beautiful Vancouver Island with her husband and three demanding cats.

Although she has been in Canada for so many years, she still misses the English and Welsh countryside, and because of this, her novel is based in the ancient, picturesque town of Betws-Y-Coed.

About herself, she says:

"I think I was born a writer, and got more confidence thanks to my grade five teacher, who was wonderful, and fostered my love for writing. I didn't write for almost 40 years, because of raising kids, life happenings, the usual drama. I started again sporadically ten years ago, and finished my first Mid Grade fantasy in 2013. Currently working on book 2.

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